Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Rumor Mill

While I was in Banff, I heard about a few interesting books and other projects in the works. If I’m saying something I shouldn’t here…oops.

Bernadette McDonald, the former queen bee of the Banff festivals, is soon to publish a biography of Tomaz Humar. The book now needs a postscript since the Slovenian's recent solo ascent on the right side of Annapurna’s south face—a terrific nyah-nyah to detractors after his 2005 rescue from Nanga Parbat.

A book about Southern California’s Stonemasters in the ’70s, with Dean Fidelman photos and John Long text, will be published by Mountain Gear. Interesting how it takes gear makers and sellers to bring certain books on climbing to market these days, eh? (See also Glen Denny’s Yosemite in the Sixties, a Banff prize winner published by Patagonia.) The risk-averse Mountaineers sure as hell aren’t going to do it.

The climbing book likely to get the most mainstream attention in 2008 is High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed, by the Hartford Courant reporter Michael Kodas. Based on two Everest expeditions and a bunch of independent reporting, it will cover thefts, guides who don’t exactly have the guiding spirit, and other malfeasance on the Big E. It’s slated to be released by Hyperion in early 2008.

A possible sleeper is Nick and Betsy Clinch’s book about the Littledales, an English couple who made a remarkable journey through Central Asia in 1896, eventually coming within 45 miles of Lhasa before being turned away. Through a Land of Extremes will be published in the UK in December; no U.S. publisher yet.

The Irish climbing writer Niall Grimes is ghost-writing an autobiography of the English climber Jerry Moffat. Or maybe it’s the other way around. It was a late night at the pub.

Let’s see, what else? Chis Altstrin, the young filmmaker who created Higher Ground, is doing a documentary about the first ascent of Supercrack, the crack climb that introduced Indian Creek (and desert climbing in general) to the world. And Julie Kennedy, the business brains behind Climbing magazine in the Michael Kennedy era, is launching a small film festival in Carbondale, Colorado, in May.

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